Your Guide in Family Cases .pdf
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You’re Guide in Family Cases
Legal Articles: UAE Family Law
By Mr. Hassan Elhais - Legal Consultant in Dubai
In this article we will guide you to better understand the legal process which is followed in most
The first stage of the legal process for divorce is the Family Guidance committee. In family
matters, the local courts cannot be approached directly. In such cases a no-objection certificate
or a transfer letter must be obtained by the Family Guidance committee prior to approaching
the courts. This is considered as an important step as they try to resolve any matters amicably
between the husband and the wife due to the important of family in the social context.
1. While approaching the family guidance committee, the claimant need to take the following
documents with him/her:
- Emirates ID
- Original Marriage certificate/ Contract
If the marriage has been contracted outside the UAE, then the document should be legalized by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that country and attested by the UAE embassy in that country.
The same document then has to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE,
translated into Arabic and stamped by the Ministry of Justice. Some countries require the
marriage contracts to be stamped by their embassies in the UAE. That step should be followed
accordingly to the requirement.
2. Once the claimant has filed with the above documents, the Family Guidance committee gives
a date for the hearing to the other party. At this stage of the process, the husband and the wife
are required to appear in person before the committee and cannot be represented by family
members or lawyers.
3. If the other party does not attend on the hearing date, the Family Guidance committee might
grant one more date before issuing the No Objection letter or Transfer Letter to file the family
4. When such a notice is received by the respondent, it is strictly advised that the Respondent
seeks legal advice prior to the hearing date and make an earliest appointment with a lawyer of
good repute to assess the effects of the claim and how he needs to respond. However, it should
be noted that the family guidance committee is not authorized, and does not carry the powers
to hand down judgments without the consent of both parties, or force the other party to accept
any solution. At this stage, the parties are well within their rights to refuse any settlement
offered by the committee.
5. Care should also be taken regarding the moral and cultural codes of the UAE, while
approaching the family guidance committee or any court in the UAE. Both men and women
should dress appropriately and in keeping with the cultural norms of the UAE. The family
guidance committee and the courts have complete discretion to disallow inappropriately
dressed person from entering the court.
6. If both parties attend and no amicable solution is reached, the Family Guidance committee
shall issue a No Objection Letter or Transfer Letter to the claimant. This NOC allows the
claimant to file the case in court and start the legal process of divorce.
7. In the event that the Parties are able to reach an amicable solution, and are willing to sign a
settlement agreement to that effect, it is strongly advised that they seek the assistance of a
lawyer at that point. The settlement agreement in this case is signed before the judge from the
Family Guidance Department and kept in their file for all future reference and two copies are
given to the Parties. Both parties must abide by the terms of this settlement agreement so any
terms agreed between the parties recommended be reviewed by competent lawyer to ensure
that that are in their favor and not detrimental to their interest.
8. We have experienced that some parties sign the settlement agreement without taking advice
from a specialized lawyer, and this has led to some very serious repercussions for the parties
and their future. It is prudent to mention here that such settlement agreements cannot be
amended unless both parties consent to the amendment. Below are some of the most common
adverse outcomes of signing without a lawyer:
a. Some of the agreements are worded in a manner that says "it is agreed that the custody of
the children is given to the mother". The husband signs on this clause presuming that he
custody shall belong to mother due to the ages of the children (13 for a female child and 11 for
a male child).
Firstly, with the above clause, since the father has not restricted the mother's custody of the
children based on their age, it is presumed that even after the ages of 13 and 11, the kids shall
remain with the mother, since the father has waived his right to custody. This shall limit the
father's contact with the child as it is more challenging to get custody following such an
For more information on what precautions to take or what steps to follow in the event of such
an agreement, please contact your lawyer.
b. Additional Financial Liability
If the mother retains the custody of the child from the ages of 11 or 13 up to 21 years of age,
the father shall be liable to pay the child maintenance for that additional period of time which
could be up to 10 more years, without the complete information from the mother on where the
money is spent.
Although according to article 110 of Law mo 28 of 2005, the right of custody cannot be waived,
nevertheless, agreement to certain conditions in the settlement agreement makes the claim
more challenging as the court is well within its right to refuse the removal of such clauses from
c. Knowledge of Law
Another problem which might surface would be one of the parties claiming that they were
unaware of the laws of the UAE as this is a foreign o\country to them.
This is also why it is recommended that both parties seek sound legal advice before entering
into such settlement agreements in the Family Court as it could have a serious effect on their
future rights and obligations towards the other party.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hassan Elhais
After qualifying as a lawyer in his native Egypt and years of successful practice within the field
of criminal and public law, Mr. Elhais moved to Dubai in 2005 and has been practicing as a legal
consultant in Dubai since then. Working exclusively with Al Rowaad Advocates, Hassan is an
effective leader of the company, the spokesperson and driving force. Hassan has a strong
ethical stance with regards to the place of the law firm and its work on behalf of the client,
from clarity on the legal process through to the fee system.
Specializing in the drafting of all statement of claim, memos and consultation with regards to all
kind of litigation, Hassan has worked his way through the ranks of Al Rowaad Advocates from
joining as Legal Advisor to his current role as Managing Partner. Member of Egypt Bar
Association; Member of International Bar Association; and Recommended Lawyer of Embassy
of United States in Abu Dhabi.
Copyright Hassan Elhais
For more information about Hassan Elhais – Legal Consultant in Dubai